The Abuse of the Domestic Violence Order
Our very own Tracey McMillan was recently asked to make a speech at the Australian Stop Domestic Violence Conference where she covered the abuse of the Domestic Violence Order.
People can be quite surprised by the circumstances or criteria which needs to be met in order to get a Domestic Violence Order or DVO. What tends to be the main surprise is how easy it is to apply for a DVO and have that legal power over someone else. There is clearly an undeniable need for DVO’s to be handed out in many scenarios surrounding divorce and separation. The system does also need to be quick and efficient but as the current system stands, it could be argued that the power is mainly with the accuser. As a result, we have seen people use a DVO fraudulently to employ legal power and restrictions over someone else during a nasty separation.
In a situation that we have seen go through the courts, 2 parents had separated and the father brought an application to the Family Court to have shared time with his son. The mother opposes this Application and the next thing, the farther is served with a Temporary DVO and Application claiming physical assault.
As evidence the mother submitted:
– Her statement alleged that the father had beaten her at changeover for the child.
– Police Report including a photograph of mum with a bruised and bloodied face, swollen cheek, broken teeth.
The real story was far more sinister:
– Mum deliberately turned up to deliver the child by herself for the first time in history.
– After she left she went straight back to her apartment where her boyfriend was waiting.
– At mum’s request, the boyfriend punched her 4 times in the face.
– Mum then went to the police station to make a complaint that dad had inflicted the injuries.
This example, albeit extreme, outlines how the DVO system can be invoked to gain custody control for the mother.
Domestic Violence Orders can include:
– To be of good behaviour and not commit an act of domestic violence;
– Not come within 100 meters of the Applicant or a named person;
– Not come within 100 meters of the Applicant’s residence or work;
– Not contact the Applicant;
– Not contact the Applicant except for the purposes of spending time with a child as agreed in writing or as authorised by a court order;
– Not cause another person to contact the Applicant;
– That the Respondent vacate the matrimonial property
To see more of what Tracey spoke about during her speech with even more examples of DVO abuse please check out the Power Point Presentation below;